McMaster has purchased an institutional membership with Turnitin.com, a web-based service that detects internet plagiarism. Turnitin is a technological response to a plagiarism problem that is getting worse because of the technology of the web. Turnitin has three advantages over other services:

  1. The students submit their own work to Turnitin, saving the instructor and/or TA the time of doing a Google search;
  2. As students are submitting their own work, they are aware a detection service is in use and may decide not to plagiarize; and
  3. Turnitin searches the entire assignment for plagiarism rather than selected passages.
How does Turnitin work?

The instructor notifies students that Turnitin will be used in the course outline (see section Language for Course Outlines). Students submit their assignments/work electronically to Turnitin.com where it is checked against the internet, published works and Turnitin’s database for similar or identical work. If Turnitin finds similar or identical work, a report is sent to the instructor showing the student’s work and the original source. The instructor reviews what Turnitin has found and then determines if s/he thinks there is a problem with the work.